It seems that since the candidates debate, the election rhetoric has died down a bit (except on social media). That said, the campaigns still continue to blaze despite all the distractions of the hockey playoff, the royal wedding, and easter weekend. I was watching the different leaders and seeing how they are trying to connect and with whom. Here is what I see.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: He connects by talking about the successful things his party has done in a minority, mostly focusing on the strong economy. He plays on the fear of a ‘coallition’ gov’t, going negative on Ignatieff and more recently Layton. He plays on the negativity of minority gov’ts by asking for a majority since he is the only one close enough to get one. Generally speaking, Harper is trying to connect mostly with his base, and hoping to connect with a few liberals and quebecois.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: He connects mostly by talking about what the Harper gov’t has done wrong. He focuses on the legality and illegality of issues brought up. He keeps his points very high-level and broad. He appeals to families with his family plan. He plays on the fear that a Harper majority gov’t would do more damage. He is trying to connect mostly with his base, while appealing to some Red Tories and some NDP/Bloc people.
NDP Leader Jack Layton: he connects mostly by talking about what he can do for people in terms of his social policy. He points out what both Harper and Ignatieff are doing wrong or won’t do for the people. He has focused on doing things right away and for families, workers, and the general public. He has recently put together a message that is more aspirational than negative, but he has done both. He is trying to connect with the broad Canadian public, but mostly on the left side of the political spectrum
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe: He connects by mostly talking about the things that Harper has done wrong, specifically diffusing the coalition rhetoric. He also focuses on what Quebec needs. Normally attacking Harper and Ignatieff, he has recently added Layton to his attacks. He is trying to connect only with Quebec voters.
On top of this, speeches and ads have a certain tone to them. For each politician, the strategy differs, some are adjusting due to ineffectiveness, while others are staying the course to minimize risk. At the end of the day we as Canadians have to figure out what means the most to us in terms of connection. Do we connect with the personality, the facts and figures, using our personal experiences and issues? Again it differs amongst us. For a message to truly inspire the masses, it has to be simple, aspirational, and achieveable. Has anyone done that? Only you can be the judge.